Tag Archives: Labor

“Threat to the world”: Brazil’s Covid-19 tragedy | Instant News

Brazil now has the highest daily number of coronavirus deaths anywhere in the world, with more than 4,000 deaths per day recorded twice this month, according to figures compiled by Our World in Data, a project by the University of Oxford.

The country’s total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus now stands at more than 350,000, the second highest in the world, behind the US, which has a larger population.

Brazil has the second highest Covid-19 death toll in the world

Covid-19 confirmed deaths are cumulative, by country

In March, the country recorded an excess of 89,984 deaths over the average number of deaths during the same month from 2015 to 2019. That’s more than four times that recorded in the United States, a country with a population of one and a half times as much. The number in neighboring Peru is 3,740, a per capita rate almost four times lower.

So how and why did the pandemic develop like this in Brazil?

A number of factors are likely contributing to the rampant spread of the virus, including a new variant of Covid-19 known as P.1, as well as the malfunctioning federal government response, led by president Jair Bolsonaro, who has largely rejected its implementation. locking action to curb disease.

The following chart reveals various aspects of the crisis.

The spread of variant P.1

The P.1 variant is thought to have first appeared in the city of Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon late last year. It contains some worrying mutations, including E484K, which is seems to provide a virus with some ability to circumvent immunity acquired through infection or natural vaccinations. Several other Covid-19 lineages have also developed E484K, including the South African variant – but P.1 includes two other mutations of particular concern, called K417T and N501Y, which also modify the viral spike protein.

Although it is estimated that 76 percent of Manaus’s population have antibodies related to infections during the first wave, the city has been hit by a second wave of coronaviruses which is thought to be linked to the emergence of variant P.1.

Variant P.1 is now estimated to have a prevalence of over 80% in Brazil

Percentage of P.1-positive sequences with upper and lower confidence intervals, 7-day rolling mean

“We firmly believe a large number of cases are caused by this variant, because it is more contagious. There is no doubt about this, ”José Eduardo Levi, a researcher at the University of São Paulo, told New Statesman. In Brazil’s most populous state of São Paolo, the arrival of P.1 replaced all other variants in a short period of time, indicating higher transmissibility, he added.

The prevalence of P.1 has increased rapidly since its discovery in December 2020. It is now estimated to represent about 80 percent of new cases nationwide. It has also spread from Brazil to neighboring countries, including Colombia and Chile, as well as further afield, including several confirmed cases in the US and UK.

The Brazilian variant is still spreading to neighboring countries

The cumulative prevalence of variant P.1 in Brazil and other countries

The Intensive Care Unit was filled with people under their 40s

In the middle of last month, Brazil’s intensive care unit (ICU) was close to capacity, with only two states reporting occupancy rates below 80 percent. The pressure on the hospital system is likely to have continued for a month since then, as deaths and daily cases have remained at high levels.

As of mid-March, only two Brazilian states had occupancy rates below 80% in their ICU beds

Covid-19 ICU bed occupancy for adults in Brazil’s public health system on March 16

Fiocruz Covid-19 Observatory

Additionally, one recent study by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine points to just that more than half of the ICU beds now populated by patients aged 40 and under, a trend some scientists believe may be partly due to P.1.

More than half of ICU patients in Brazil are under 40 years of age

Percentage of ICU patients, by characteristics

“The high number of cases among young people does not explain why, once they are infected, they face worse outcomes,” said Levi, adding that scientists may soon prove that P.1 is more lethal, including among younger patients, apart from being more contagious.

Vaccination rollout is slow

Although Brazil’s public health system is highly respected, their vaccination program lags behind even compared to other South American countries. As of April 13, Brazil has shipped just 27 million doses, as shown in New Statesman International Vaccine Tracker, which worked as 13 doses per 100 people, well behind Chile with 63 and Uruguay 30 per 100.

In addition, more than 40 percent of the vaccine doses Brazil purchased were China’s Sinovac jab, according to Duke University’s Center for Global Health Innovation. Jab is now produced in São Paulo, but is only 50.7 percent effective against the P.1 variant, according to a study.

Weak locking

Bolsonaro has largely resisted the lockdown, which he said caused more serious economic damage than a virus he once called “the little flu.”

“We will not accept the ‘stay at home, close everything, lock’ policy,” he said last week. “There will be no national lockdown. Our soldiers are not taking to the streets to force the Brazilians into their homes.”

Brazilian workers have never been away from work as much as other countries

Percent change in number of visitors to workplaces, relative to the pre-pandemic period, 7-day rolling average

Although some states and cities have implemented restrictions independently of the federal government, Google’s mobility data shows that a lack of coordinated federal response has caused more Brazilians to move around than people in neighboring countries. Brazilian workers also didn’t stay away from work as much as in other countries, data showed, with a drop in activity around late December and early April likely linked to the Christmas and Easter holidays.

Bolsonaro “prioritizes economic openness versus lockdowns and underestimates the relevance of the virus”, Elena Lazarou, a fellow at the Chatham House think tank, told New Statesman. “In some states, the governor has a very different approach to the federal government and Bolsonaro in particular,” but was not given sufficient government funding to impose restrictions, he added.

The lack of a coordinated federal response means there are fewer restrictions on interstate travel, which contributes to the rapid spread of the P.1 variant, Levi said. “Manaus can only be reached by boat or plane. It is enough to prohibit people from riding without PCR [Covid] test, we were able to significantly limit the spread of the P.1 variant. ”

Without more vaccine doses, the virus is likely to continue spreading in Brazil, not only among those not vaccinated but also among those who have been infected by other variants, creating the ideal petri dish for the emergence of further variants of concern, said Levi. , adding: “Brazil represents a threat to the world.”

[See also: Everything you need to know about the Brazilian Covid-19 variant]


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Australian Households Will Spur Growth as Sentiment at 11-Year Highs | Instant News

Photographer: James Bugg / Bloomberg

Explore what’s driving the global economy in a new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.

Australian households are set to continue pushing for economic recovery, aside from withdrawing fiscal stimulus with the end of the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy, as confidence surges to an 11-year high.

Consumer sentiment surged 6.2% to 118.8 points in April from the previous month, Westpac Banking Corp. said in a statement Wednesday. The index is now at its highest level since August 2010, when the economy was recovering after the 2008 crisis and at the height of the mining investment boom.

“This is an extraordinary result,” said Bill Evans, chief economist at Westpac. “Surveys continue to signal that consumers will be the main driver of growth above trend in 2021.”

Sentiment Soared

Consumer confidence reached an 11-year high

Westpac Institute-Melbourne

Confidence increased in all states and in four of the five subcomponents of the index. The “time to buy a place” index fell 7.9%, with buyers looking discouraged by the recent spike in prices and its implications for affordability.

Australia has recovered quickly from the pandemic, supported by a fiscal-monetary push and the initial containment of Covid-19. That prompted a surge in hiring and a fall in unemployment that looked set to continue even as government salary subsidies ended late last month.

A National Australia Bank Ltd. report Tuesday showed business conditions – measuring hiring, sales and profits – rose to a record high.

“Obviously, confidence will be supported by positive news surrounding the labor market,” said Evan. He noted that job openings were reported 27% above February last year.

Australia’s unemployment rate likely fell slightly to 5.7% in March from 5.8%, economists forecast ahead of jobs data due Thursday,


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UPDATE 1-Union Alitalia urges the Italian government to leave EU talks over an overhaul | Instant News

(Adding EU Commission commentary)

MILAN, April 13 (Reuters) – Representatives of the Alitalia trade union on Tuesday urged the Italian government to cancel negotiations with Brussels over an overhaul of the airline, saying the European Commission favors foreign airlines over the group.

Rome has been negotiating with EU executives for months over Italy’s plans to restructure the airline through the launch of a new state-owned company called ITA.

Speaking before the Italian parliament, UILT trade union chairman Claudio Tarlazzi rejected the idea that the new company could accept the European Union’s proposal for restructuring.

“We have to realize that the EU is supporting rival companies, and negotiations (with Brussels) must stop and the company created with all the necessary assets,” Tarlazzi told members of the two parliamentary committees holding joint hearings.

Criticism of the EU’s handling of Alitalia peaked last week, when Brussels approved a French contribution to a 4 billion euro ($ 4.8 billion) support package for Air France-KLM in exchange for a 4% reduction in take-off and landing slots at Paris-Orly Airport.

A Commission spokesman said the looser rules for state aid adopted during the pandemic through the EU’s “interim framework” could not be applied to Alitalia.

“Alitalia was constantly losing money and was in trouble at the end of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and so was excluded from … receiving assistance under an interim framework,” the spokesperson told Reuters. .

“On the other hand, Air France and Lufthansa will have no difficulties at the end of 2019, which is why they can be recapitalized.”

The commission is in contact with the Italian authorities, he added, without elaborating.

The EU has asked ITA to abandon its Alitalia brand, give up half of its slot at Milan’s city airport, and start without the handling and maintenance division of the old airline, sources said.

ITA management has planned to seek partnerships with rival operators using the negotiating power of the Milan-Linate Alitalia airport slot as a sweetener.

It was supposed to buy some of Alitalia’s old assets using part of the 3 billion euros injected by the government, and started flying on fewer than 50 jets in June.

Representatives from three other unions who attended the hearing agreed with Tarlazzi and said the ITA should start by doubling down on its planned fleet.

Alitalia has posted operating losses annually since 2012, and more than half of its 11,000 employees have been temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus crisis.

$ 1 = 0.8409 euros Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Edited by Jan Harvey


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Britain’s Johnson warned of the lockdown, not the vaccine, behind the drop in COVID deaths | Instant News

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Tuesday that the rapid decline in COVID-19 deaths was due in large part to a three-month lockdown, not a vaccination program, and that cases would increase once again as restrictions eased.

The United Kingdom launched an inoculation effort in December and has offered its first injection to all people over 50, who are clinically vulnerable and healthcare workers. The country is behind only Israel in a proportion of its population that has received at least one dose.

But that launch was followed a month later by a third lockdown in early January to tackle a surging infection driven by the “Kent” virus variant. Since February, the number of daily infections, hospitalizations and deaths have all fallen sharply.

“Most of the work on reducing disease has been done with the lockdown,” Johnson said on Tuesday, adding there was no reason to change the roadmap for reopening the economy.

“When we open up, the result is for sure we will see more infections and unfortunately we will see more hospitalizations and deaths.”

With conditions improving, Britain is reopening all its retail, hairdressers, gyms and pub gardens on Monday and Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will reopen various elements of their communities in the coming weeks.

Vaccine launches also got a boost on Tuesday when Moderna became the third vaccine offered in the UK after AstraZeneca and one from Pfizer-BioNTech.

That will help the UK stay on track to meet its target of offering a vaccine to all adults by the end of July.

Moderna, already offered in the United States and Europe, uses the same mRNA technology as Pfizer injections but can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures unlike rival US vaccines, which must be stored and shipped at very low temperatures.

On Tuesday, Britain’s NHS said that people aged 45 or over can now book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For those categories where vaccines are already offered, it is said that 95% of eligible people have accepted the offer.

However, in another note of caution against optimism, the government announced the expansion of so-called surge testing in the south London boroughs of Lambeth and Wandsworth to detect cases of the variant first discovered in South Africa.

There are 74 confirmed cases and possibly a variant of the coronavirus, known as B.1.351, in the region, and there are concerns that the vaccine is less effective against it.

“The important thing is to note: If the South African variant really takes off, and we’ll probably find out in about two to three weeks, then we might need to stop reopening a little bit,” James Naismith, professor of structural biology at the University of Oxford. and director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, told BBC Radio.

With more than 127,000 deaths, Great Britain has the fifth highest number of deaths in the world from COVID-19.

additional reporting by Paul Sandle; Written by Kate Holton; Edited by Nick Macfie, Jon Boyle and Chizu Nomiyama


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The lucky escape exposes Australia’s biosecurity weaknesses | Instant News

Traces of foot and mouth disease and African swine fever found in packages of illegally imported pork have revealed how easily a devastating disease can enter Australia if the biosecurity system is not repaired.

“Fortunately, in this case the infringing product was detected at the border, but all it takes is one package missed to put Australian farmers’ productivity, profitability and ultimately market access at serious risk,” said NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar.

Mr Mahar said there was little doubt that Australian agriculture remained vulnerable to pest or disease attacks as biosecurity systems became increasingly outdated and continued to be underfunded.

“The entry of new pests and diseases has the potential to bring many agricultural industries to their knees, not only harming farmers and society but the economy as a whole.

“Biosecurity is the key to controlling domestic weeds and pests and most importantly, maintaining and expanding our export markets.

“The cost of a single pest or disease outbreak is estimated to be conservatively in excess of $ 50 billion.”

Last year, the Government failed to implement the biosecurity import levies recommended by the Biosecurity Charges Steering Committee. In the run-up to this year’s Federal budget, the NFF is asking the Government to direct $ 400 million over four years toward expanding and modernizing Australia’s much-needed biosecurity system.

“This commitment will ensure sufficient long-term funding for a national biosecurity system, targeting risk-creating activities and communications to give our trading partners confidence in Australia’s pest and disease free status.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the devastating effects that a biosecurity outbreak can have,” Mahar said.

The NFF is also supporting new funding for the development of a long-term trade strategy; climate change research; implementation of the National Agricultural Manpower Strategy and the revival of regional food and fiber manufacturing. See the NFF’s 2021-2022 Federal Budget Submission here.

/ Public Release. This material comes from the original organization and may be point-in-time, edited for clarity, style and length. view more here.


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